The third annual Michigan Road Scholars Tour will begin this spring, bringing University faculty to various parts of Michigan to learn about aspects of the state such as the economy, educational systems and health and social issues.
The five-day trip, which includes staff from all three University campuses, will begin in Ann Arbor on April 30 and finish May 4. The tour will include 15 cities and stops at a variety of sites, ranging from the Muskegon Correctional Facility to Monitor Sugar Co. in Bay City.
Faculty members will “get out of the classroom and see a different perspective of the state” and “open up areas of interest they may or may not get to” staying in Ann Arbor, said project director David Lossing.
Thirty-two faculty members will be traveling with the tour, one of whom is surgical medicine prof. Steven Rudich.
Rudich said he will take the opportunity not only to learn but also to talk to people about organ donation, an issue about which he feels stongly.
English Prof. Eric Rabkin, an alumni of the 2000 tour, said he found the program informative and socially stimulating.
“Every stop I learned something new,” Rabkin said. In regard to meeting faculty from different departments, he said, “I think that teachers have an obligation to try to understand the people with whom they work, it”s not easy to have a good, rich feeling working with the same people” every day.
On a similar note, Math Prof. Charles Doering said, “it is very hard to interact outside of our departments and with faculty from other universities.”
For Doering, the tour will be “an interesting opportunity with a bunch of colleagues” to visit previously unseen areas and people in Michigan.
Rabkin said the University was very good in setting up the program to foster new relationships between the faculty, a major criterion for the creation of the program two years ago.
An orientation will be held Feb. 15, in which faculty members can meet the colleagues with whom they will be traveling and begin the process of “expanding what they know of the state and its people outside of Ann Arbor proper,” said Lossing.